Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Moroccan economy 6.5 pct growth

US President George W. Bush talks with His Maj...Image via WikipediaRABAT (Reuters) - Morocco's economy grew 6.5 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, down from 7 percent a quarter earlier, but almost treble the rate a year ago as farms recovered from drought and telecoms and banking expanded.

Postal and telecom activity grew 13.6 percent year-on-year, up from 10.5 percent in the second quarter of 2007, while financial services grew 19.4 percent, up from 18 percent, the state High Planning Commission said late on Monday.

In the same quarter a year ago, the economy expanded 2.6 percent year-on-year.

Over a third of Moroccans are reliant on agriculture for their livelihood and cyclical droughts regularly take their toll on household incomes in the country of 33 million.

The government has sought to reduce the economy's exposure to farming and reverse decades of sluggish investment in industry and services, with financial sector reforms slashing lending rates and prompting a boom in consumer credit.

The result has been a pick-up in industries reliant on domestic demand such as construction, telecoms and retail.

The finance ministry said in July it expected economic growth of 6.3 percent annually over the next four years as investor-friendly reforms kick in and the kingdom pushes into new export industries and services.

Agriculture grew 11.2 percent in the second quarter, paring a 21.6 percent slump in the April-June period of 2007. Non-farm growth was 5.8 percent.

Manufacturing industries grew 4.3 percent, compared to 4.4 percent a year earlier and the construction sector expanded by 10.6 percent compared to 14.1 percent in the second quarter of last year.

Group Addoha's profits up 40%

A view on the Boulevard de Paris in central Ca...Image via WikipediaRABAT, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Moroccan property firm Addoha ADH.CS reported a 40 percent increase in its first-half net profit on Tuesday, but its shares failed to trade as analysts said the figure was below expectations. Net profit grew to 319.3 million dirhams ($40.4 million) while operating profit doubled to 483.9 million dirhams on a 78 percent rise in turnover to 1.301 billion dirhams, the Casablanca-based company said in a statement.

"Addoha was a big disappointment -- to now people have been expecting something around 2 billion dirhams profit in the full year," said a Casablanca analyst who asked not to be named.

Addoha's stock was suspended limit-down, with bids of 120 dirhams well below a market trading limit of 157.95 dirhams. The wider MASI index .MASI was down 3.9 percent at 12,470 points at 1319 GMT.

A recent drop in the benchmark index has almost wiped out gains earlier in the year that came against a backdrop of sliding world stock indexes.

Real estate firms powered the biggest Maghreb stock market to a record high earlier in the year as investors sought to benefit from a local building boom and accelerating private sector investment in the country of 33 million.

But analysts have voiced concern over the real estate sector outlook in recent weeks as the global credit crisis threatens to dry up much of the inward investment that underpins the market.

Addoha shares soared after a listing in 2006. Last year it sold new equity to fund a series of land purchases and bought 50 percent of Spanish builder Fadesa's Moroccan arm in a deal worth 1.3 billion dirhams.

Fadesa's parent company Martinsa Fadesa was put into administration in July after falling victim to the collapse of Spain's housing market.

Addoha said on Tuesday it expected to complete the acquisition of land from Fadesa's Moroccan business before the end of the year and was upbeat about its earnings prospects.

"Sales and the net result in the second half of 2008 should register a clear increase compared to the previous half," it said, citing an expected jump in deliveries of new homes. (Reporting by Tom Pfeiffer; editing by Simon Jessop)